RWANDA Football Federation (Ferwafa) has introduced age limits to the second division football league that starts next month.
According to Ferwafa president Vincent de Gaulle Nzamwita, each of the participating 20 clubs can only have three players above the age of 20 years.
“This is an opportunity for young players to play regularly and get accustomed to competitive organized football,” Nzamwita said.
This initiative is expected to attract young players who can gradually feature in the different national youthful sides like the U-17 and U-20 sides as well as the U-23 team in a bid to streamline the youth football structures in the country.
This league will be funded by the Ministry of Sports and Culture and is expected to start in the last week of January or early February and according to the Ferwafa spokesman Moussa Hakizimana it will run for four months.
The league will have home and away matches and is expected to run for at least two years; 2015 and 2016 before the old version is revamped with participation open to everyone.
Hakizimana explained that, “We want to run the second division as a league for U-20 players and when we have attracted as many children as possible in two years then we can go back to a regular league with no age limit.”
“We are encouraging the second division teams to find young players across the country and give them a chance to play at this level.”
Ferwafa technical director Lee Johnson in an earlier interview revealed that initiatives like this will set the precedent for years to come and in the long run will benefit the senior national team.
An outcry recently by Amavubi head coach Stephen Constantine exposed the lack of football structures in the past.
After Minispoc and Ferwafa banned naturalized players in August following Rwanda’s disqualification from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations group stage qualifiers for using a dual identity player, Amavubi suffered a big blow as an exodus of players mostly forwards quit the national side.
Constantine has now embarked on a journey to make sure that young players across the country can get as much exposure in the domestic leagues and this can pay off during national team engagements.